George Bush vs Al Gore Florida recount in 2000, what happened? Odds of rerun possible as Trump goes to court
The Supreme Court, 20 years ago, decided the presidency with their ruling, many voters fear that a similar impasse can be in the offering this year
With President Donald Trump threatening to go to the United States Supreme Court, seeking to stop the counting of mail-in ballots and calling election fraud as he inches farther from victory, speculation abounds whether America will witness a return of the George Bush versus Al Gore case during 2000 presidential elections. The Supreme Court, twenty years ago, decided the presidency with their ruling, many voters fear that a similar impasse can be in the offering this year. If neither Trump nor Democratic nominee Joe Biden wins by a clear majority of 270 electoral college votes, a similar situation could arise.
What is Bush v. Gore
In one of the closest presidential elections in American history, Republican George W Bush, in the year 2000, held a narrow lead in the state of Florida over his political rival, Democratic contender Al Gore. Out of nearly 6 million ballots in Florida, only 1784 votes separated the two from being a clear winner. According to Florida law, the candidate with the most votes, Bush, received all of the state's electoral votes. However, since the election in the state was so close, state law called for a machine vote recount. The difference between the candidates got even closer after the recount with Bush's lead coming down to just 327.
The state law also permitted Gore to choose manual vote recount in whichever counties he wanted, the contender ultimately chose four counties. However, the state law also required for the votes to be certified within 7 days of the election, which became difficult for the counties recounting manually. Since Election Day that year was November 7, the deadline was decided on November 14. Three of the four counties could not finish the recount before the deadline and sought an extension. The-then Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, however, went ahead and announced that she would certify the votes.
Gore challenged Harris' announcement and attempted to get an injunction along with Palm Beach County — one of the counties which failed to recount — against her to prevent her from certifying. Florida Supreme Court granted the injunction on November 17, and a new deadline of November 26 was announced to let the three counties finish the recount. One of the counties, Miami Dade, however, declared that was not enough time and gave up. Harris, eventually, on November 26 certified the election giving Bush a victory of 537 votes.
Supreme Court declares election winner
Gore then filed a lawsuit against Harris, claiming that her announcement was invalid considering all the votes had not been recounted. The Florida SC ruled in favor of Gore on December 8 and ordered for all the uncounted votes to be manually counted. Bush took an objection to this and appealed the state SC's decision to the US Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, after deliberation, on December 12, sided with Bush with 7-2. Justice John Paul Stevens and Ruth Ginsburg dissented. Bush, hence, received the electoral votes sealing his victory. The SC, in its ruling, stated that the Florida SC's recount order went against the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, arguing that the recount gave special treatment to some ballots.
The 2020 presidential elections appear to be heading the same way if no clear winner emerges soon. President Trump is set to file a lawsuit against the state of Nevada after he claimed on Thursday morning, November 5, that its election process has been rigged. The Republican claimed that at least 10,000 people voted in the state despite not living there, which is a breach of election rules. The incumbent, however, did not provide any evidence to support his unsubstantiated claims. His campaign also filed lawsuits in Michigan and Pennsylvania, claiming that the states had fallen victim to election rigging. The move came after Biden won Michigan, taking it back from Trump who had flipped the state from Democrat to Republican in the 2016 election. Trump has also demanded a recount in Wisconsin after Biden flipped it back to Democrat post-Trump's surprise victory in 2016 elections.